Pardew wants Tiote future resolved
Alan Pardew has urged Newcastle to tie up key midfielder Cheick Tiote's future after risking losing him this summer.
The 28-year-old Ivory Coast international was the subject of a £4million bid, dismissed as "derisory" by the Magpies, from Russian outfit Lokomotiv Moscow in August having also been linked with Arsenal.
Tiote's current contract does not expire until the end of the 2016-17 season, but having established himself along with captain Fabricio Coloccini as one of Pardew's key performers - the kind of men former manager Sir Bobby Robson used to describe as "blue riband players" - the current boss is keen to secure his future.
Asked how close he came to losing a clearly unsettled Tiote during the summer, Pardew said: "We obviously had a team fighting for his services, but the finance was never really in place. The reality was that we were quite comfortable that he wasn't going to go anywhere.
"I think his contract situation needs to be resolved at the end of the season, for sure.
"I love him. He's everything that you want in a Newcastle player. He has the quality and of course you'll never under-estimate the fact that he wants to win - that's something we have to be very careful about on training days.
"I just love that he's a winner. It can overcome so many obstacles as a footballer. Young players here need to take a big leaf out of his book in terms of how he approaches training and games.
"Sometimes it can overspill into bookings and sendings-off, but you can never fault him for wanting to win."
Tiote and Coloccini have been at the forefront of a mini-recovery on Tyneside with Pardew having gone into last Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with Hull with the noose firmly around his neck in the eyes of his most vociferous doubters.
Planned protests failed to capture the popular mood at St James' Park, although the chorus of disapproval rose in volume as the home side went 2-0 down, only for forgotten man Papiss Cisse to come from the bench and rescue a 2-2 draw.
That, coupled with a 3-2 Capital One Cup third-round victory at Crystal Palace in midweek, and the private endorsement of owner Mike Ashley, have helped to soothe frayed nerves ahead of Monday's tricky trip to Stoke, and that has left Pardew grateful to his leaders.
He said: "You do need big players at this football club. You do need to underline that they're big players at times as well, as the manager.
"It's important for their stature as well. They [Tiote and Coloccini] are two very important players for us. They showed that on Wednesday night and last Saturday, that fight and that quality - and getting that balance right.
"You can't fight your way to a Premier League win - you have to play. They've got that balance right."
The Ivorian and his Argentinian team-mate are members of a cosmopolitan squad on Tyneside with Newcastle having concentrated their recent recruitment work on France and Holland.
However, five Geordies - Paul Dummett, Steven Taylor, Jack Colback, Sammy Ameobi and Adam Armstrong - started at Palace with Pardew confident the club is starting to reap the rewards of its Academy policy.
He said: "We have said about the Academy that we were centralising it, we weren't making it a big spread. We're not going to try to take boys from London or Manchester. We're focusing on the area.
"I think that's starting to pay dividends with the club."
Whatever positives Pardew has been able to take in the last few days, the fact remains that his team sits at the foot of the Barclays Premier League and have taken just 19 of the last 75 points it has contested.